Review by Penny Mulvey
Play | Di and Viv and Rose
“I wanted to write a play about friendship and I wondered if I could catch what it’s like to know and love people for a long time, in an hour-and-a-half.”
English actor and playwright, Amelia Bullmore, is talking about Di and Viv and Rose, the latest offering by the Melbourne Theatre Company.
This story will resonate with many. We all have friendships that have stood the test of time. This person/s knows our family; our skeletons; our idiosyncrasies. And because of that (or in spite of that), they still love us and stay in touch.
Di and Viv and Rose met at university in the late ‘80s/early 90s. Di (Nadine Garner) is the magnet who brings the other two disparate women into the friendship. They share a house, their dreams and their heartache.
Rose (Mandy McElhinney) is a no-holds-barred type of person. In your face, honest, desperate for love and sex, she is both loveable and exhausting. Viv is private, likes order and has a plan for her life. She is focused, hardworking and aloof. Di is a warm-hearted lesbian (out and proud at uni but still in the closet at home), athletic and still finding herself.
Bullmore’s intention was for three actors to play the three characters from age 17 through to their 40s.
The audience broke into a spontaneous round of applause when the three, as 18-year-olds, danced unabashedly around their lounge room to the tiny sounds of their small radio cassette player.
For these young women, life held so much promise, but the dreams of the young change as the responsibilities and experiences of adulthood take over.
The audience is drawn into the lives of these women. Their stories are both universal and particular. We find ourselves reflecting on friendships that are no more, on those that have survived the bumps of life and at the end of it, we are grateful.
It is those friendships that enrich our lives, stretch our understanding and enable us to be better people.
Showing at The Sumner Theatre until 16 September.